Doncaster Knights: Clive Griffiths remains confident of sealing play-off spot

Clive Griffiths remains confident that Doncaster Knights can hold on to their Championship play-off spot during their testing run-in.

Friday, 10th February 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:44 am
Clive Griffiths

Next in action at Lady Bay tomorrow week, Knights remain third but saw several clubs make inroads into the eight-point lead they enjoyed over the chasing pack as a result of their home defeat against Ealing at the weekend.

“It’s incredibly close below the top two and any of the sides, apart from Rotherham and Richmond, are a capable of challenging for a top-four spot,” said Griffiths.

“I still think that if we win three of our remaining games and pick up the odd bonus point along the way, that will be good enough to see us finish in the play-offs.

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“What will be key for us is beating those teams just below us, such as Cornish Pirates, London Scottish, Nottingham and Jersey, because they are all eight-pointers.”

Three of those games, Jersey being the exception, are away from home but Knights will take confidence from the fact that they’ve won their last two league games on the road and played well in the process.

Always totally honest, Griffiths admits that there is still room for improvement in his squad.

“As I’ve said before, some of the players are not playing as consistently well as last season and our form has been a bit up and down,” he said. “But we’ve also shown that on our day we can hold our own with anyone in this division.”

With having a small squad – the result of going for quality over quantity - injuries are one of the Welshman’s biggest worries.

Knights lost two key players - centre Mat Clark and prop WillGriff John - possibly for much of the season against Ealing.

Although hinting earlier this week that he will look at bringing players in, he also feels that he has the men within his squad capable of stepping up to the plate.

“Joe Sprotson is fit again so that will help to offset the loss of WillGriff,” said Griffiths. “We’ve also got Andy Bulumakau who for various reasons hasn’t featured much this season but we all know what he can do.”

The form of fly-half Simon Humberstone, expected to be available for the Nottingham game following a two-week lay-off with a head injury, means that Griffiths has both options and cover in the key play-maker role.

“It’s been a long road for Simon due to the various injuries he’s had during his time here, but he’s starting to show now why I signed him and why I gave him a new two-year contract even though he didn’t play much last season,” said Griffiths. “He’s benefited from a run of games and his defence has been outstanding.”